Podcast #144 – Marc interviews David and Nikki Yeager, author and illustrator of Nikki Durant and the Terrible Can’t.
David wanted his daughter, Nikki, to be raised to overcome the obstacles of life. When Nikki was young, David wrote a series of books full of inspirational messages for her. Now that Nikki has a young son of her own, she felt it was time to put these stories she loved as a child into circulation for other children to enjoy with their parents.
Nikki painted the illustrations and designed the book and working with resources in Thailand, where she lives with her family, she was able to produce them affordably. The best part for them is that the Yeagers donate 100% of the profits from each book to Kids in Need of Defense, working with children separated from their parents at the American border.
Listen in for their story and their plans for books to come.
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[1:38] Marc welcomes you to Episode 144 of the Repurpose Your Career podcast. Career Pivot is the sponsor of this podcast; CareerPivot.com is one of the very few websites dedicated to those of us in the second half of life and our careers. Check out the blog and the other resources delivered to you, free of charge.
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[3:40] When this podcast releases, on September 9th, it will be seven days from the formal launch of the next edition of Repurpose Your Career, and days away from the soft launch on September 12th.
[4:00] On September 12, the Kindle edition will be available for $.99. On September 16th, the paperback version will publish, but you can pre-order it now! On September 16th the paperback version will sell for $14.97 and the Kindle edition will go to $8.97. Marc will be lowering the prices on previous editions.
[4:28] Go to CareerPivot.com/Launch to find all the links to order your book.
[4:34] Marc has recorded many podcast guest appearances and continues to record them. Some of which have already been published with more to come. Go to CareerPivot.com/launch you’ll find all the links of all the podcast episodes.
[4:51] Marc will be in Austin the week of September 22nd, the New Jersey area the week of September 29th, and D.C., the following week. Marc would love to meet his readers and listeners.
[5:04] Marc has multiple events planned for Austin, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Marc will then have a meet-and-greet in D.C. You can find the events on CareerPivot.com/launch.
[5:16] Next week, Marc will take you on a journey on how he created the Repurpose Your Career series. Marc is a recovering engineer, not a writer. If Marc can do this, you can, too! Marc discussed part of the journey on CareerPivot.com/episode-25 but this time, he will go deeper. This new episode coincides with the release of the 3rd edition.
Now on to the podcast…
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[5:42] This week, Marc interviews Nikki and David Yeager on the podcast. Nikki is David’s daughter. Nikki wrote to Marc about her father’s decision to donate 100% of his children’s book proceeds to KIND, an organization that offers pro bono legal services and policy education to help families who have been separated at the U.S. border.
[6:18] Nikki lives in Thailand. Her dad lives in Florida. Nikki is illustrating the books that her father wrote when she was a child. You can hear more at DavidYaygrrBooks.com. There is also a link to it at CareerPivot.com/episode-144
[6:50] Marc welcomes you to the Repurpose Your Career podcast. Marc introduces Nikki and David Yeager and the DavidYaygrrBooks website.
[7:49] Nikki and David recently self-published a children’s book, Nikki Durant and the Terrible Can’t, together. David originally wrote the book when Nikki was “a little baby.” Thirty years later, with a child of her own, Nikki drew the illustrations for the book. When it was ready, Nikki worked to “get it out into the world for him.”
[8:38] David saw tremendous value in sitting with his daughter and reading books to her. As he was doing that, he came up with stories of his own to tell, that he thought would be worthwhile, educational, and inspirational, not only for Nikki but also for other children. He wrote multiple books, over time.
[9:57] Nikki explains the story of Nikki Durant, who overcomes all the obstacles in her way to get to a place called “There.” David wrote the story as an example and a message for his daughter, Nikki.
[10:58] David intended the story as a means of opening a dialog with Nikki about not being intimidated by the challenges of life.
[11:20] Nikki had started a company with her mother and brother a few years ago and David had started working at the company. Recently, they sold the company and David retired. With more time and energy on their hands, Nikki and David had time to dedicate to the project, including Nikki’s work to illustrate the book.
[12:05] With Nikki’s son being four years old, and being fascinated by books, Nikki felt now was the time to get it done. Nikki also wants her son to be raised to overcome any obstacles that come his way with a strong sense of self-advocacy, so she is glad to have the book in his hands.
[12:57] The Yeagers are donating 100% of the profit to Kids In Need of Defense — KIND, that works to provide legal services to children who have been separated from their families at the U.S. border. They also provide representation for children who would otherwise be showing up before judges alone.
[13:49] KIND also advocates for changing the laws that impact children coming into the U.S. and being separated from their parents.
[14:18] David was a stay-at-home dad while his wife pursued a career. David became a foster parent, as well, to do something positive for others. Over several years, they fostered four children at different times. David learned how traumatic it is for children to be separated from their parents, even when it is necessary to protect them.
[16:14] David wants to help, in whatever way he can, to mitigate some of the damage and contribute to helping the people working to lessen the negative impacts of some of the policies and practices in place, separating children from families.
[16:43] There are different ways to communicate with children. Sometimes it can be through books and discussions more than just trying to explicitly teach somebody a lesson.
[17:10] Nikki is living in Bangkok, Thailand with her husband and son. They have been there for about a year.
[17:27] Nikki started illustrating the book about 10 years ago. She stopped after three pages, having lost interest in illustrating “other people’s books.” She put it away until very recently. Nikki painted in acrylics. She finished all the pictures, redoing some of them. Then she scanned them all to a computer and did the layout electronically.
[18:05] Publishing books is very affordable in Bangkok. Production costs in the U.S. are much higher. For the next run, production costs, with shipping, will be less than $1.00 per book. At a selling price of $10.00, they will donate almost $9.00 per book sold. The first production run came to about $3.00 per book.
[19:00] David wrote a lot of books. There will be quite a few more to come. Nikki drew the pictures for another one, many years ago, that she is considering redoing, and there is another she may start illustrating soon. Nikki’s goal is to have a second book done in the next six months.
[20:00] David is 65. This experience is a reinvention for David and a time of discovery. Both David and his wife retired at the end of 2018, so they are exploring how to use the time available to them, including working with his writings of the past.
[20:59] It was a joy for David to see the book become real that had always been in his head.There is a real sense of satisfaction that Nikki, the child David was trying to teach and inspire, is now a part of the process of completing the book, for others and her own child.
[22:11] Nikki tells how she could tell her usually unexcitable father was excited on first seeing the book.
[23:16] Nikki had the story in an email sent from David. Nikki had to break it into pages and come up with the images based on the words on the page. Besides the interior illustrations, she designed the cover, using illustrations from the book.
[24:57] Nikki tells how it came to pass that she illustrated the book. She had gone through a vocational art program. Once or twice David had hinted that it would be nice if Nikki or someone she knew drew the pictures for the story.
[25:31] It’s nearly impossible to get a children’s book publisher to pick up an unknown author. There are so many children’s books, already. To pay someone to do high-quality illustrations is extremely expensive, so it’s hard to recoup those costs. Nikki always considered that she had the capability to do it and she really loved David’s books.
[26:02] It almost felt to Nikki like an obligation to do the illustrations for the books she had loved from her childhood, so that’s how she came around to it.
[26:14] Marc has a good friend through Leadership Austin who aged out of the foster care system. Marc also knows people in organizations at the border and he lives in Mexico, so he feels connected to the Yeager’s story in several ways.
[26:52] Nikki talks about the distribution of the book. They also created lesson plans that go along with the book and they plan to do read-alouds in schools, with activities for teachers and classes.
[27:31] Nikki and David are working very hard to get more reviews and word-of-mouth. Nikki invites listeners of the Repurpose Your Career podcast to spread the message.
[27:48] Find the book on DavidYaygrrBooks.com. The Yeagers get the most money to donate if you buy from their website. The book is also on MagicBeans Bookstore, which donates books to children in need. You can also buy it at Back in the Day Books in Dunedin, Florida, where David lives.
[28:46] David also appreciates the help any of the listeners can give in getting the book out there. It’s nearly impossible for a new author to get a book published, no matter how worthwhile it is.
[29:26] When Nikki approached Marc, he felt this was a cool story to share on the Repurpose Your Career podcast.
[29:49] Marc thanks Nikii and David Yeager for being on the Repurpose Your Career podcast. Marc hopes you enjoyed this episode. Marc had a bunch of fun talking to Nikki and David.
[30:41] The Career Pivot Membership Community continues to help the approximately 50 members who are participating in the Beta phase of this project to grow and thrive. The community has moved on to the next phase where community members who have experienced success get to share their successes and teach others.
[30:57] This is a community where everyone is there to help everyone else out.
[31:02] The community is about to go to a formal launch. Look for more on the online community as Marc launches a new version of the Career Pivot website toward the end of September or early October.
[31:18] They have been hovering at about 50 members for a while. Members are experiencing successes like going back to work, starting new businesses — even someone buying a franchise. Some leave the community when they’ve found success, while others stay.
[31:37] Their legacy stays with the community as they have built an extensive library of forum entries and discussions. Marc will be publishing shortly testimonials of what they got from being part of this community. There are successes in just about every week.
[31:57] Marc is recruiting members for the next cohort. If you are interested in the endeavor and would like to be put on the waiting list, please go to CareerPivot.com/Community.
[32:05] This is a paid membership community with group coaching, mastermind groups, and special content. More importantly, it’s a community where you can seek help. Please go to CareerPivot.com/Community to learn more.
[32:22] Marc invites you to connect with him on LinkedIn.com/in/mrmiller. Just include in the connection request that you listen to this podcast. You can look for Career Pivot on Facebook, LinkedIn, or @CareerPivot on Twitter.
[32:35] Please come back next week, when Marc discusses the journey of writing the Repurpose Your Career series.
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